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 Lucien Hector Jonas  (1880 - 1947)

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Lived/Active: France      Known for: military painting, drawings, portraits, book illustration

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
SCÈNE DE PLAGE
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Covington Fine Arts Gallery, Inc.:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Lucien Hector Jonas (1890-1947)

Jonas was born in the town of Anzin in northern France. He first studied in Valenciennes with the painter Layraud, then in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts* under Albert Maignan, Léon Bonnat and Henri Harpignies. He exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français and was elected to its membership in 1904. He won a number of awards and prizes, including a silver medal and the second Prix de Rome* in 1905, a gold medal and a traveling fellowship in 1907.

In 1911 he won the Prix National at the Paris Salon*. He won a medal for his printmaking in 1935 and was elected to the Salon jury for both painting and engraving in 1945. He was made a Knight of the Legion d’honneur in 1929.

Jonas came to prominence during the First World War as one of the greatest and most prolific of war artists.

He was mobilized at the end of 1914, and in February of 1915 was attached to the Musée de l’Armée in Paris as an official military painter. As such, he often traveled to the front lines making paintings and drawings that were later published in newspapers, magazines, and books throughout the world. Many of his drawings and paintings of the war were published in the weekly Parisian newspaper, Illustration, perhaps the most widely read newspaper in France. He also became known for his striking portraits of officers and soldiers, and after the war he illustrated a three-volume history of the Great War titled The War as Told by Our Generals.

Jonas was a skilled painter of murals and works by him adorned a number of public buildings in Paris and elsewhere. He did murals for the Café Bellevue in Lille, for a museum, a theater, the chamber of commerce, and the dining room of the train station in Valenciennes, and for the city hall, the chamber of commerce, and a church in Anzin, the town where he was born. Between 1920 and 1925 he did the decorations for many of churches in the north of France that had been heavily damaged during the war, including 28 Ways of the Cross. In 1944 he painted 17 murals depicting The Life of the Virgin for the Iglesia Española (Spanish Church) in the 16th Arrondissement of Paris.

Jonas, considered a post-Impressionist, concentrated on realist subjects. He was known for his paintings of miners and other industrial scenes, as well as domestic scenes. He sometimes caricatured provincial types. He illustrated a number of books, including works by Molière, Daudet and Balzac. He also designed banknotes for the Bank of France and for banks in Indochina, Syria, Lebanon and Djibouti.

According to Bénézit, Jonas “trained in an academic* style; he quickly developed his own approach in every area, showing a vigorous drawing technique, a psychological awareness of his many portrait subjects, and a luminosity in his landscapes and domestic interiors. He remains a true master of line and his work continues to serve as a reference for many artists. Although he did not belong to any 20th-century avant-garde movement, Jonas’s work displays an understanding of Japonism*, Impressionism* and Fauvism* in the use of broad brushstrokes in beach and street scenes, and even portraits, and a fondness for luminous colors.”

A retrospective of Jonas’s work was held in Paris in 1992, and in 2003 the exhibition: "Lucien Jonas and Mural Painting in Paris in the 1930s" was held at the Musée Carnavalet in Paris.

His work is found in many museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée Carnavalet, Musée de l’Armée and Musée du Petit Palais in Paris and in museums in Amiens, Anzin, Bochum, Cambrai, Douai, Grenoble, Hazenbruck, Montreal, Perigueux, Roubai, Valenciennes, and in the Château of Versailles.

Submitted by Wayne Kielsmeier, whose source is EBAY

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